Montreal, November 28, 2003 On behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is pleased that its recommendation to include jurisdiction over economic development, notably the management of industrial parks, in the City's responsibilities was retained by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Sports and Recreation in the amendments to Bill 9.
The Board of Trade has been actively participating in the consultation on the territorial reorganization of certain municipalities. In its brief on Bill 9, presented before the Parliamentary Commission on September 11, the Board of Trade made five broad recommendations aimed at sustaining the economic development and success of the metropolitan Montreal region.
It was important for the Board of Trade that Quebec's main urban centres especially Montreal maintain their ability to invigorate and boost Quebec's economic activity. In our opinion, the government had to reinforce this fundamental asset in its bill not only because it is absolutely necessary if Montreal hopes to reach its full development potential but also because it will finally allow the City to tackle Barcelona, Boston, Chicago, Lyon, Milan and other large cities in the world. In this regard, the Board of Trade commends Minister Jean-Marc Fournier's good judgment, stated Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
In this version of Bill 9, the Minister kept his word and confirmed that returning to the status quo was not an option. The difference between decentralized boroughs and reconstituted municipalities in control of only a fraction of the revenues generated by their territory is rather symbolic. Opting for demerger is in effect tantamount to deliberately cutting themselves off from the City's decision-making bodies, added Mr. Labonté.
While lamenting the fact that the Montreal region is still grappling with uncertainty about its municipal structures at a time when it is urgent to pool our resources and efforts, we believe that Montreal must now turn this situation to its advantage. We therefore hope that the upcoming debates will prompt all the Island's residents to rally around the current structure, because in our view, it is the most promising solution for economic growth and prosperity in the region. We would like to see the government actively participate in these debates by explaining all aspects of the new cities and why it would like this structure to succeed before consulting the citizens in this regard, continued the Board of Trade's president.
We can be sure of one thing: The cities that compete with us have better things to do than wait for us to finish setting up the structures and means required for Montreal to finally become a major player in the global economy and a hub of innovation, creativity and prosperity that will benefit all Quebecers and Canadians, concluded Mr. Labonté.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. Its objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers. The Board of Trade relies on its three service branches - Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute, and the World Trade Centre Montréal - to offer specialized services to the greater business community.